An artist is naturally curious. They feed their creative soul by countless attempting different techniques for their art. Always strive to develop new methods or ideas. Call it overly ambitious, it is what they live for. No boundaries nor restrictions.
Arvin Nogueras, who goes by the name Caliph8, is a sound and visual artist, graphic designer, creator of sound installations and hip-hop enthusiast. During his time as an art school student in the ‘90s, Arvin found passion in making experimental hip-hop, something that was still very left-field. His youth was filled with intimate sessions of experimenting and collecting ethnic music as much as possible for sampling purposes.
Though he couldn’t remember the first track he listened to, artists such as The Bomb Squad; Stock, Haussen & Walkman; Pierre Henry and Michel Colombier as well as David Axelrod made a huge impact on how he shaped his sensibilities as a sound-based artist.
For the past 20 years, he has been active in Manila and overseas. More recently, he was in Yogyakarta, Indonesia for the NusaSonic, an experimental sound festival, where we met him for a one-on-one conversation.
Known for his talent to deconstruct and reconstruct music, Nogueras immerses himself in learning the languages and the contexts of the samples he’s going to dissect, which makes his creative process so intriguing.
Learning the language of a particular genre cannot be done in an instance. Well, no one said it would be an easy ride anyway! It took him years to understand jazz and classical new music to fully grasp the language of free jazz and improvised music. To turn a particular genre of a sample into a new meaning and ideas using deconstructed parts is important to him.
The artist does not box himself in one or two particular genres. “I find genres from the ‘60s interesting. Psych Rock, Folk, Free Jazz, Early electronic, experimental and new music are some of the genres I frequently absorb”.
A few years back, during one of his works’ exhibition, the artist stated that his work is influenced by certain health conditions that he suffered from. It’s a condition that has turned him into a hypochondriac (obsession with the idea of having a serious but undiagnosed medical condition). When asked about this, Nogueras said, “The health issue thing just gave me a deeper realization on time and how certain conditions can affect imagination and reflect on my work.”
When life can only be understood backwards, it still needs to be lived forward. He believes everything takes resilience and chooses not to compromise.
As Nogueras stated, “It’s important to put out uncompromising ideas and challenge people’s sensibilities and take them out of their comfort zones.”